Jack, Maggie, all you have to do is think one happy thought, and you’ll fly like me.
~ Hook (1991)
What does one do when they get insight about something that they don’t have the time or energy to act on?
I’ve got all i can handle and then some – no more. But why else am i continuing this work, in spite of the world doing us dirty, if not for these moments? Epiphanies are a gift for the hardworking seeker. An ointment for the wounded wanderer. A Turkish coffee on a Monday morning. Like a birthday sparkler, it illuminates but briefly. Its magnesium flash leaves an imprint behind my psychic lids; i shall write of it before it fades.
My therapist (whom i now call Ms T) pointed out that my #1, most developed and powerful alter, was born out of my brain as a child. This means, despite her purpose in being created and how she presents, she is a child herself. As are all my Bits N’ Pieces.
They’re a child’s idea of what a grownup should be, but they aren’t adults. They’re children created in a child’s mind.
I carried that with me after our therapy session ended. It was all i could think about for hours. It flooded me with compassion for my system – something i’ve struggled with over the years i’ve been consciously interacting with them. It’s been a challenge to know them, and then to foster trust in them, so that i might take my proper place as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer™ of this whole shebang.
My crazy kaleidoscope of a brain.
While i was deep in thought and processing what i’d learned, my son checked in with me.
He’s grown and has been through more than i’d wish for him.
I’m thinking about how my people are kids, and it softens my heart. I see them in a way i hadn’t, heretofore. My son approaches me, looking for connection.
I’ve known for most of my children’s lives that i struggle with affection. I love them so much, but the abuse made me avoid touch.
I only figured that out through therapy, in retrospect.
So my youngest son is approaching me for physical contact. A hug. He’s my huggy bear. My older 2 weren’t as touchy. I don’t know if it’s the way they are or the way i made them. I will accept responsibility for whatever they discern…
The thing is, he’s always been affectionate with me, and has helped me overcome my fear of touch with his innocent, open, and consistent reaching out to me for connection.
I knew it was my job to meet him where he was at. This latest round of therapy has taught me how important that is to a child’s development. I’m learning that connection is everything. Whether good or bad develops from it is not the lesson for me. My children will be, regardless of my influence, who they choose to be. It doesn’t matter if their choices are conscious and informed or not. I don’t know if it’s fair or not, either.
I’m just here –in all my glorious imperfection– to help where i can. That involves acknowledging my flaws and shortcomings.
My mother never said sorry to me, not one time.
Years ago i figured out how much an apology would’ve meant to me.
I’d have let it all go in an instant. I just wanted her to love me. I’d have forgiven her anything and everything.
It dawned on me, and i saw how children need to connect as much as they need to eat. More, even.
And then i saw my greatest failing as a parent.
I was unable to meet my children in their most vulnerable place. The place inside them where they needed my touch: loving touch, comforting touch, supportive touch, playful touch, healing touch. I couldn’t touch my children often enough, or deeply enough, or meaningfully enough. And i wonder what that’s done to them. I think on their personalities, and i must consider that their common threads may be because they needed more touch from me than i gave them. None of them are an open-book type – just like me. They are all intensely private and somewhat introverted – like me. They’re guarded, they have a somewhat negative view of humans, they aren’t terribly surprised by the darker sides of human nature, they all enjoy gallows humour, they bond with only a very select few.
Just like me.
Look, i’m not saying these qualities are good or bad ones.
I’m also not saying i was a terrible parent. I neglected them in ways, and i failed them utterly in others. I think most parents do to some degree. None of us are perfect. I think our job as parents is to be good enough. That’s it; we’re all flawed humans who bring our baggage into all our relationships. I know that i did my best. Unfortunately, i’m not sure my best was good enough.
That’s for my children to judge though, not me.
The thing is, as i learn and grow and heal from the terror i lived through as a child, i would be remiss if i didn’t also cast a critical eye on my own parenting. I’m still their mom and will always be, even when we are separated by death. I will be as good a mom as i can be, and as i become more this/less that and just a better and more useful human, so too will that include my role as mother.
As i put myself back together after being torn apart by my own parents, my capacity to fulfill that role for my precious boys will expand, and i will fill all the new spaces inside me with love and light.
I may not have been a terrible mom, but i will be a better and better mom until the day i cease to be anything but a memory.
That now includes being physically available to them, whenever they want it from me. Not just hugs, but physical warmth. Consoling and soothing touch. Play, too.
I may be late addressing the need, but my hope is that it’s not too late.
I will be physically available to meet them where they’re at, and i will provide motherly connection.
Connection with my children.
I have the time and energy for that, FOR THEM, no matter what.
So I know I’m not alone
When I’m here on my own
Isn’t that a wonder?
When you’re alone
You’re not alone
Not really alone
~ John Williams, When You’re Alone (Hook)